German SPD leader invokes Europe to sell coalition deal with Merkel

14 February, 2018, 19:22 | Author: Kim Reid
  • German SPD leader quits in bid to calm party after coalition deal with Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have given the finance ministry to her Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners but Berlin is not putting its finances at risk, a former lawmaker told CNBC Tuesday.

On Sunday Merkel defended "painful" concessions she made to the SPD to win herself a fourth term as chancellor, and she said criticism among her conservatives was not a sign her authority was waning.

Under the prevailing statues of the SPD, the party's parliamentary vice-presidents are designated to take charge in the vacant period between the departure of an old and inauguration of a new party leader.

The SPD will now put a coalition deal to its 460,000 members for a vote later this month, with results due on March 4.

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The new governance agreement, however, is yet to be voted on by party members.

Schulz on Friday then gave up plans to become German foreign minister, hoping to shore up support among SPD members for the new coalition - but the manner in which he anointed Nahles as his successor rankled with many in the party. "No more indiscipline in the SPD", said Ralf Stegner, the regional SPD leader in Schleswig-Holstein.

Andrea Nahles also said she would fight for the ruling coalition with the conservatives of Angela Merkel.

In a cartoon published on Tuesday, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily showed Nahles with a whip riding an SPD snail.

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Gabriel last week launched an extraordinary attack against the party's leadership, apparently angry because Schulz was planning to take up Gabriel's position as foreign minister.

Schulz is expected to take a seat on the SPD's backbenches. Last Wednesday, the SPD reached an agreement with Merkel's Union in formal government coalition negotiations, a move likely to end the longest ever new government vacuum after the September 24 federal elections. Mr Schulz secured six ministries in a new government for the SPD, including finance, foreign and labour, giving the Social Democrats a critical role in shaping Berlin's policy on Europe over the next four years. The far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag for the first time.

Guenther Oettinger, a senior CDU member and the European Union's budget commissioner, rushed to her defence on Monday: "I find her still strong ... and am sure she will meet the expectations of our party and the public in the coming days".

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